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Details of the Historic Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II Laden With Pomp and Pageantry

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral

It was the grandest funeral ever, and the most elaborate royal event we've seen so far in living memory. Truly, a splendid send-off party for the most revered British Queen, and the longest reigning monarch in modern history.

For all of us who have not watched an elaborate royal funeral laden with pomp and pageantry, the state funeral and committal service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, yesterday, September 19, left us in total amazement.  

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
The Queen's coffin

It was a day of emotion, pomp, and royal spectacle as the world bids goodbye to the much revered British Queen, the longest reigning monarch in modern history.

Details of the three processions and the military parade, including the church service, were so astounding it felt like we were watching some historical film in theaters. It was full of regal details, elaborate presentation, and ancient regalia. 

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
Inside Westminster Abbey during the service

But the church ceremony was poignant and moving. The service at Westminster Abbey was solemn, that at one point, made us shed tears, especially when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, delivered a sermon, praising the Queen's extraordinary dedication to public service: 

"People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases, those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten" - Archbishop of Canterbury

On the opposite side of the Royal Family, seated the reigning and non-reigning royals of Europe, and other members of foreign royals. 

Sarah, Duchess of York, the ex-wife of the Queen's second son, Prince Andrew, attended the funeral and was treated as a non-working member of the Royal Family. 

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
procession inside Westminster Abbey

She sat next to her daughter, Princess Eugenie in the second row, at the back of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and next to the Queen's nephew, David Armstrong-Jones, the 2nd Earl of Snowdon.

The entire proceedings were surreal! And laden with royal tradition, pomp and pageantry, something that we have not seen in recent memory.

The Historic Funeral

The Queen's state funeral saw the gathering of the most popular world leaders such as US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden

All the living Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom who had served Her Majesty attended the church service, accompanied by their respective spouses: Tony Blair, John Major, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson. They walked together inside the church all the way to their seats. 

All the living British Prime Ministers and their spouses attended the church ceremony

Incumbent British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and her husband walked separately. They were ushered next to the past Prime Ministers.

During her reign, the Queen had 14 Prime Ministers, Liz Truss is her 15th prime minister, and whose appointment she was able to confirm, two days before she died in Balmoral estate.

It was also the first funeral of a reigning British sovereign in 70 years. And the first funeral of a British monarch at Westminster Abbey in over 200 years.

The Queen's children and their respective spouses in front
The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children

The last British monarch whose funeral was held at Westminster Abbey was King George II in 1760. All the funeral services of the monarchs succeeding him were held at St. George's Chapel in Windsor.

Making the Queen the first monarch from the House of Windsor whose funeral was held at Westminster Abbey. The Abbey alone brought so many special memories to the Queen. It was there that she wed Prince Philip in 1947, and had her coronation as British Queen in June 1953.

The Pallbearers

The Queen's coffin was held by military personnel from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. The Queen was the company commander of the Grenadier Guards.

The Grenadier Guards also guarded the Queen's coffin during lying in state at Westminster Hall. Twelve of their soldiers were selected to provide the bearer party at the funeral.

Members of the Grenadier Guards carried the Queen's coffin

The Grenadier Guards is the most senior of the Foot Guards regiments and has been associated with the monarchy since its establishment in 1656.

The Queen's Company will retain its name up until the monarch is laid to rest, and will later change to reflect the new king.

Members of the Grenadier Guards carried the Queen's coffin

Former British Army soldier, Major Adrian Weale said. "It's their role to protect her body, both in life and in death, remaining the Queen's Company until King Charles decides otherwise".

Grenadier Guards' duties will then be transitioned to the next monarch, King Charles III.

The grandest military parade

As the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces, the Queen's funeral procession was highlighted by a grand military parade, which the public had not seen in decades. 

The procession included detachments from the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth, as well as detachments of the British Armed Forces and musicians.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
The procession from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey

It also included members of the Queen's Household and Clarence Household staff, those who have dedicated their lives to the service of the Queen.

According to the British Armed Forces and Buckingham Palace, these are the number of military personnel who participated in the state funeral of the Queen:

  • 4,000 military personnel participated in the parade
  • 3,000 in London 
  • 1,000 in Windsor for the committal service in St. George's Chapel
  • 2,000 across the three processions
  • 2,000 in guard of honors or lining the routes

Military personnel from the UK and the Commonwealth marched through London while others lined the routes, providing guards of honor or undertaking other ceremonial duties.

The Queen, who was head of the armed forces and served as their commander-in-chief, had a close personal relationship with the military and they accompanied her on processions throughout the day.

At precisely 10:45 in the morning, London time, the funeral procession from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey began. 

The Queen's coffin traveled via State Gun Carriage, which was not used since the funeral of British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, in 1965.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
The Royal Navy Sailors pulled the gun carriage and also acted as brakes

The oak coffin was covered by Her Majesty's royal standard and on top, were the imperial crown, scepter and orb - royal jewels that were used during the Queen's coronation in 1953. 

A wreath of flowers placed on top of the coffin was a selection of rosemary, English oak, sprig of myrtle, flowers that came from the gardens of royal residences.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
Map of the first procession

The gun carriage was pulled by 98 Royal Navy sailors and 40 Royal Navy sailors acting as brakes. The reason why the Royal Navy sailors were chosen to take care of the gun carriage during the procession was personal one to the Queen.

Her grandfather, King George V, her father, King George VI, and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh were all Royal Navy officers. And two of her sons - King Charles III and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, had served in the Royal Navy.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
Procession from Westminster Hall of Westminster Abbey

Most importantly, it signifies the Queen's personal status as a wife of the Admiral of the Fleet, the highest rank in the Royal Navy, and Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy, the ceremonial head of the Royal Navy. Both positions were held by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh until his death in 2021.

The chief mourners or members of the Royal Family who walked behind the Queen's coffin during the two processions were the following:

  • King Charles III - eldest son of the Queen
  • The Princess Royal - only daughter of the Queen
  • The Duke of York - second son of the Queen
  • The Earl of Wessex - youngest child of the Queen
  • The Prince of Wales - grandson of the Queen
  • The Duke of Sussex - grandson of the Queen
  • Mr. Peter Phillips - grandson of the Queen
  • The 2nd Earl of Snowdon - nephew of the Queen
  • The Duke of Gloucester - first cousin of the Queen
  • Vice Admiral Tim Laurence - son-in-law of the Queen
Members of the British Royal Family who walked behind the Queen's coffin

The church service at Westminster Abbey was solemn and somber, which made the public emotional, most of those who watched the procession shed tears. 

Approximately 2,000 guests filled the Abbey. Guests consisted of World Leaders, foreign royals, diplomatic personnel, extended members of the British royal family, friends, representatives of different organizations, and personalities associated with the patronages of the Queen.

Reigning Crown Heads in Europe attended except Liechtenstein. Their sitting arrangement was based on the length of their reign. The current longest monarch in Europe today, Queen Margrethe II, seated in front with her son and heir, Crown Prince Frederik.

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. At the back, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium

King Harald V of Norway and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark

former Spanish monarch, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia

former Queen Beatrix, Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden

Reigning Crown Heads of Europe who attended the funeral:

  1. Belgium - King Philippe and Queen Mathilde
  2. Denmark - Queen Margrethe II and Crown Prince Frederik
  3. Luxembourg - Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa
  4. Monaco - Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene
  5. Norway - King Harald V of Norway
  6. Spain - King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Letizia
  7. Sweden - King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia
  8. The Netherlands - King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands and Queen Maxima
Queen Anne-Marie, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal
The reigning Crown Heads of Europe
Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco at their back, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal

Other royals of Europe who attended the funeral:
  1. Former King of Spain, Juan Carlos and his wife, Queen Sofia
  2. Former Queen of the Netherlands, Princess Beatrix of Orange
  3. Anne-Marie, former Queen Consort of Greece
  4. Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and his wife, Marie-Chantal
  5. Crown Princess Margarita of Romania and her husband, Prince Radu
  6. Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia
World royals who attended the funeral:
  1. Bahrain - King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa
  2. Bhutan - King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema
  3. Japan - Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako
  4. Jordan - King Abdullah II, Queen Rania, and Crown Prince Hussein
  5. Lesotho - King of Letsie III
  6. Oman - Sultan Haitham bin Tariq
  7. Qatar - Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Sheikha Jawaher bint Hamad Al Thani 
  8. UAE - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and Vice President of UAE
  9. Princess Haya of Jordan (divorced wife of Al Maktoum)
Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
Front: King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, at the back: Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan, and Sultan of Malaysia and his wife

The World Leaders in attendance:
  1. US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden
  2. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife
  3. French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Birgitte
  4. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey
  5. President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and his wife
  6. Wang Qishan, Vice President of People's Republic of China
  7. Yoon Suk-yeol, President of South Korea
  8. European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen
  9. European Council head, Charles Michel
  10. Frank-Walter Steinmeierm, President of Germany
  11. Sergio Mattarella of Italy
  12. Isaac Herzog of Israel
  13. Micheál Martin, President of Ireland
  14. Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese
  15. Other Commonwealth Ministers and Presidents

A minute of silence was observed following the service at Westminster Abbey, followed by the singing of national anthem, lyrics now changed to God Save the King. 

Queen Consort Camilla, Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Wales, the Princess of Wales, and the Duchess of Sussex
Queen Elizabeth II state funeral

Then the Queen's coffin was carried by the Grenadier Guards outside the Abbey and put back at the gun carriage for her final journey to Windsor. leaving London for good.

The Second Procession

After the service at Westminster Abbey, the Queen's coffin was placed again into the gun carriage, pulled once more by the Royal Navy Sailors, and began their long walk to central London, passing The Mall where thousands of people gather annually for Trooping the Colors ceremony to celebrate her birthday, and Buckingham Palace, her London home for the past 80 years.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
The Quee's cortege passed The Mall and unto Buckingham Palace

It was a somber moment as staff and workers of Buckingham Palace lined up on the palace's street to pay their last respects to their long-time employer, the Queen. We've seen the Queen's palace chef and kitchen staff, among those who stood in the line.

Thousands of mourners filled each side of the street, and stood in silence under the bright sunshine, watching the funeral cortege. It was a highly emotional sight for most of Britons who were known the Queen as their only monarch for more than half a century.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
The Queen's coffin loaded to the State Hearse for their road journey to Windsor

The Queen's cortege then journeyed to the Wellington Arch, where the coffin was transferred to the State Hearse for the road journey to Windsor. 

It was a moving moment as the Queen returned to her beloved Windsor Castle for the last time. She left Windsor Castle on July 21, 2022, for her summer break in Balmoral estate.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
Queen's hearse entered Windsor Castle, her permanent home since 2020

Windsor Castle has endeared to the Queen since childhood. It was there that she took shelter with her sister, Princess Margaret, during World War II. It became her favorite weekend home when she became a Queen.

In 2020, when the pandemic began, she and Prince Philip moved to Windsor Castle for good. It was there that Prince Philip died peacefully on April 9, 2021.

Final Journey to beloved Windsor Castle

The live television coverage followed the State Hearse from Wellington Arc to Windsor, giving the global audience an opportunity to see the other side of London, and the natural beauty of Windsor Great Park.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
View of the Long Walk, an avenue from Windsor Great Park to Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth II state funeral

In Windsor, along the entrance of the Long Walk, an avenue leading to the entrance gate of Windsor Castle, the Queen's hearse joined a third procession to St George's Chapel in the castle's grounds.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
Thousands of mourners stood in the route along the Long Walk

The procession was escorted by the military personnel and members of the Queen's household, musicians, and prancing horses. The Queen's coffin was guarded by the Grenadier Guards. 

Also accompanying the hearse were the King's Body Guards of the Honorable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, the Yeomen of the Guard, and the Royal Company of Archers.

Emma. the Queen's favorite horse she regularly ridden at Windsor Great Park, stood in silence as her coffin passed by

As the Queen's coffin passed along the Windsor Great Park, where Her Majesty spent time riding horses, her favorite horse, Emma, accompanied by the groom, stood in silence. The Queen regularly took horseback riding with Emma at Windsor Great Park, despite her advanced age. She was last seen riding Emma early this year.

Queen's corgis Muick and Sandy
Muick and Sandy watched as the Queen's hearse passed along the castle's quadrangle
Queen's corgis Muick and Sandy

At the castle's quadrangle, another touching moment unfolded when Her Majesty's two corgis, Muick and Sandy, stood to watch the Queen's coffin. Muick and Sandy were given by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, to his mother in 2021, to help her cope emotionally, after the death of Prince Philip.

Queen's corgis Muick and Sandy
Muick and Sandy stood with their handlers along the castle's grounds

Lately, it was reported that Muick and Sandy will be transferred to the Royal Lodge to be taken care of by the Duke and Duchess of York. The Queen had other two dogs, Candy and Lissie, who will be taken care of by other members of the Royal Family.

The Queen, a dog lover, had over 30 corgis during her lifetime. She got her first dog, Susan, in her childhood, a birthday gift from her grandfather, King George V. All the corgis of the Queen before 2018 were bred from Susan.

However, following Willow's death, the last corgi from Susan's line, in 2018, Her Majesty stopped breeding dogs, for the reason that she might die at any time and could not bear leaving so many dogs behind. 😔

Queen's corgis Muick and Sandy
Muick and Sandy will be taken care of by Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York

From the castle's Quadrangle, the King and senior members of the Royal Family walked behind the cortege up to St George's Chapel.

Committal Service at St. George's Chapel

The Service was conducted by the Dean of Windsor, with prayers said by the Rector of Sandringham, the Minister of Crathie Kirk, and the Chaplain of Windsor Great Park. The Choir of St George’s Chapel sang during the Service.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
The Grenadier Guards carried the Queen's coffin inside the St. George's Chapel

Prior to the final Hymn, the Imperial State Crown, the Orb and the Scepter were removed from the Queen’s coffin and placed on the Altar. 

At the end of the final Hymn, King Charles placed the Queen's Company Camp Color of the Grenadier Guards on Her Majesty’s Coffin. At the same time, The Lord Chamberlain "broke" his Wand of Office, placing it on the Coffin. The Lord Chamberlain is the head of the Queen's Household.

As Her Majesty's coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault, the Dean of Windsor read Psalm and the Commendation before the Garter King of Arms pronounced Her Majesty’s styles and titles. 

The Sovereign’s Piper played a Lament and The Archbishop of Canterbury pronounced the Blessing. The National Anthem, God Save the King, was performed at the conclusion of the Service.

Queen Elizabeth II state funeral
Queen's coffin lowered to the Royal Crypt

The Queen's coffin was lowered to the Royal Crypt. At 7:30 (no live broadcast) the private burial took place conducted by the Dean of Windsor. 

Prince Philip's coffin was removed from the Royal Crypt, and together with the Queen's coffin, placed side by side at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, just beside St. George's Chapel.

St. George VI Memorial Chapel the final resting place of the Queen, Prince Philip, King George VI, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret

It was the grandest funeral as well as royal event, full of pomp and pageantry, we have seen in recent memory. And for the much revered Queen who had devoted her entire life to the monarchy, she deserved no less.

Together again. This photo was taken in July 1947 to mark Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip's engagement. From left: Princess Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth, King George VI, and Princess Margaret. On September 19, they were reunited for good at King George VI Memorial Chapel

Such an inspiring life of dedicated service, an epitome of royal duties. In April 1947, when she turned 21, she declared that she will dedicate her life, may it be short or long, to the life of service. A promise well-kept.

©The Royal Family 

The Royal Family social media accounts shared the above photo of the Queen with a caption, ‘May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.’ In loving memory of Her Majesty The Queen. 1926 - 2022.

May Her Majesty rest in eternal peace and in God's embrace. Her legacy will never be forgotten. We're glad she and her beloved Philip are now together eternally.

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